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HPEng013HHPEng013 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi this is my first time posting on a pain forum. I'm 31 and I've been suffering from all sorts of symptoms ranging from my head to my hips for the past 5 years or so and I really don't know what option to try anymore.

All of it started after a neck injury, but prior to that I also had two rib injurings on the right side, and I had worked for a moving company during my studies, which had left me with mild but reoccuring aches in my thoracic region. I also had a previous neck injury from my childhood, which had healed and left no symptoms at all, but I think the accumulation of minor trauma just finally got to me.

On a good day I have spasms from my mid back wrapping around both sides of my ribs, but more on the right side, and creeping up the left side in my shoulder and clavicle and all the way up my neck to the temple. I always feel a bit light headed and foggy. I also very often have a light headache and sinus pressure on the right side of my head. I'm also almost constantly hearing a hissing in my left ear. My posture is now constantly leaning towards the left. and slightly forward. I've been told to "straighten up" but I just can't, even if I start from a fully bent forward position and slowly come up "one vertebra at a time" as soon as I try to straighten out my chest I lock up and have to swerve out to the side.

My other reoccuring symptoms can include violent headaches going into my eyes with painful trigger spots in my neck around the c3-c4 area. Feeling tightness in the neck like someone's chocking me. Pain in at the articulation of my ribs and sternum around the R4-5-6 aread. These are the ribs that were injured. Pain in my mid back around the d4-d7 aread, usually more on the right side. Often symptoms from the ribs and the back connect in half circles. When that happens I'll usually get a counter balancing spasm in the lumbar region on the left side reaching into my hip. I can also get lines of pain going into the under side of my arms, originating from some muscles in the front of my ribs. And I tend to have very frequent whiplash like symptoms such as pain in my ears and my mouth.

I've seen many different doctors including an othopedist and a physiatrist. They always give me bogus diagnostics just to get rid of me and tell me to go do more physio. The one thing I've heard most often is myofacial syndrom. And its true I tend to get trigger spot, but when I realease them my torso immeditely just falls foward or backwards and to the left. I've gotten more than one physiotherapist puzzled by this. I think I have some sort of instability problem like segmental instability, or scapular instability, or something related, but everytime I've tried to talk to a doctor about it I get a similar response "All I'm seeing here are spasms and myofacial tensions". Well, duh! Of course I have spasms, they're the only thing holding me up right now.

I've gone to 3 different physical therapy clincs with very limited success. They always take the same approach, which is to get me to stetch out and realease those muscles, but it always leaves me feeling like my body can't hold itself up and I get even more pain. I've also seen an osteopath and 3 chiropractors. The chiro I'm working with right now concentrates mostly on trying to get my posture back straight without actually looking specifically at my muscle activity. He's only working on my upper neck and head posture and it has straightened me up a bit but I seem to have reached a plateau. I've also been doing yoga and pilates for the past 2 years. Again that's helped a bit but I've haven't really made any progress in the past 6 months or so.

Radiological investigation has given the following results:
c6-c7 bilateral disk bulge on with minor osteophyte complex
T6-T7-T8-T9-T10 osteophyte complexes
"Minor spondylosis of the mid thoracic spine with minor compression of the vertebral bodies"

So, if you've gotten this far, I thank you for reading. Does anyone out there have similar experiences? Any ideas? Suggestions?

Thanks everyone!


  • I had quite a few wrong diagnoses before I got the correct one and I think that was a lucky throw of the dice to find myself in the right place at the right time with the right doctors.
    I was actually in hospital for steroid treatment for MS (my latest diagnosis). This had to be delayed because my bed was needed for an emergency admission of an AIDS patient with a chest infection. The hospital wanted to send me home, but when they contacted my wife she said I had told her I would commit suicide if was sent home untreated. This was a lie, I said no such thing. She was actually entertaining her boyfriend in my absence and didn't want me around to spoil the party. Still it worried the hospital admin enough to make them find me a temporary bed in the neurosurgical dept. and it was there, after I fell and injured another patient that I came to the attention of the senior neurosurgeon (via a junior Registrar and a physiotherapist - long story) who wanted to know who I was and why I was there. He came to my bed for a chat which turned into an examination, hours later an MRI scan and ten days later, major surgery.

    As I said, a lucky throw of the dice. If the AIDS patient hadn't caught a cold, I would have had my steroid treatment, gone home and probably still be in a wheelchair now.

    Since then, on various forums I have come across other t-spine victims with equally bizzarre tales of being treated for this, that and the other, while waiting many years for a correct diagnosis. It makes you wonder how many go through their whole lives undiagnosed.

    Be persistent, Hans. If tests are inconclusive demand more tests. Do your own research, become your own expert advocate. You may not have been trained to know the answers, but you can train yourself to question other people's answers if they don't add up.

    I hope you get a proper diagnosis soon, because without it you can't get proper treatment and without proper treatment you won't get better.


    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • You have got quite the story! Great advice though! I concur. Don't give up! Keep digging and asking questions!
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